Warning: This is the sort of story that a person with inordinately high tolerance for human fluids, like a nurse, would tell. It is not for the faint of heart. It involves doo-doo and up-chuck. Just be advised that you can turn away from the train-wreck before I gross you out.
All the weak ones gone?
God, you’re a bunch of sickos. Here we go… I was in Grand Junction, CO this past week for a meeting. The meeting got over around noon on Thursday and a bunch of my co-workers and I started flying home, with a connection in Denver. We had a really long (3.5 hours) layover there, so I went wandering through DEN, which is not a bad airport to spend three hours in. (Unless you were near Gate B86 at about 4:30 Thursday, ha ha.) I found a toy store so I could get a souvenir for Junior Vox, then went nearby and got a chair massage because my neck was sore. After that, I stopped at Jamba Juice to get a pretzel and a smoothie, and headed back to the gate area.
I sat there reading and sipping my Jamba, though I really wasn’t hungry. Finally, our flight started boarding. I was in boarding group 5, and as I sat there waiting through the other groups, I started feeling…really bad. I broke into a cold sweat and my stomach performed the sort of aerial maneuver that says something ugly is about to happen. My boss was in line and I softly called to him and said, “I can’t get on the plane. I’m about to be sick.” I handed him my laptop bag and ran like the wind to the bathroom. Unfortunately for many, I didn’t make it. I started barfing about 15 feet before the bathroom door and kept it right up until I made it to the cleaning lady’s garbage can and really let fly.
Here’s where it gets really horrible, just in case you want a second chance.
(You’re disturbed, you know that?)
And as I was bent over with my head in the big, rolling trash can, throwing up every bit of food I’d even seen since the day before, the diarrhea hit. Yes, my friends, I shit myself just inside the ladies room door in the Denver Airport.
I squelched another ten steps or so inside, then continued throwing up in a sink, all the while saying, “I’m so sorry, I am so, so sorry,” to those people I could hear gasping and saying, “Eww.” Someone handed me a wet paper towel, and I looked up to see our human resources officer, who was on the trip with us. She said, “Are you okay?” I said, “I just had an accident…” She said, “Do you need a tampon?” I said, “I pooped my pants.” Dog bless that woman, she put the “human” in human resources. Her son was having his 13th birthday party that night, and I said, “I’m going to be okay, just please get on the plane and go to the party.” She said, “I’m not going to leave you here by yourself.” I got myself into a stall and she asked what she could do to help. I said, “Can you send an airport person in here to help me try and find some different pants?” She said she would go down the concourse and buy me a pair of sweats from one of the shops. Again, I insisted she needed to go home, and again she scoffed at me. She was like a fuckin’ Marine, man. She did not leave a fallen soldier behind.
I gradually got cleaned up, had some more unpleasant episodes, and she came back with some sweats. I called Mr. Vox and gasped out the story and said I’d call him as soon as I knew if I could even get on a later flight, then called his sister, who lives in Denver to put her on alert. To make a long story short, I got to ride one of those golf-cart limousine thingies in the airport back to the main terminal and the HR lady and I ended up at a hotel for the night. I am pretty sure the hotel cleaning staff there have a lot of stories in common with the airport cleaning employees. My sister-in-law came over for a few hours with some clean clothes, a toothbrush and toothpaste and some contact stuff.
The next morning, the HR officer and I got on a plane and came home to Boise. I am still in recuperation mode, but it’s been unpleasant. Frankly, the whole airport thing was literally the worst experience of my life. (Which is actually something to be grateful for, if that’s the worst thing. There have been much harder emotional situations and whatnot, but as far as pain and shame and immediate suffering go, that took the cake.
I’m still not sure what exactly it was, but I’m hoping food poisoning. If not, I was the 2012 Cold and Flu Season Vector of the Year winner. Hey, at least it wasn’t Ebola!